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14 May 2011

CROCODYLES IN THE SAHARA DESERT



Crocodylus niloticus has experienced local extinctions throughout the Sahara desert, because of increasing aridity and human interventionHowever, relict populations still persist in Chad, Egypt and Mauritania.  A new study evaluates the status of the Saharan crocodiles and provides new data for Mauritania to assist conservation planning. 

09 May 2011

TOP 100 EVOLUTIONARY DISTINCT AND GLOBALLY ENDANGERED AMPHIBIANS

Know HERE100 extraordinary amphibians threatened with 
extinction!

A NEW SPECIES OF BLIND AND LIMBLESS LIZARD FROM CAMBODIA





The Dalai Mountain blind lizard (Dibamus dalaiensisis a new species to science, coming from the biodiversity hotpot named the Cardamom mountains, in Cambodia. It it the first of its genus and family to be found in this country.  These lizards are blind and without extremities to walk, and have fossorial (live underground) habits. Find more in: cambodian-scientist-discovers-new-species-of-blind-and-legless-lizard/

08 May 2011

ATELOPUS BALIOS REDISCOVERED

Conservation International says: "Atelopus balios
Last seen 1995. Rediscovered after 15 years in Ecuador by Eduardo Toral-Contreras and Elicio Tapia. Researchers feared that the deadly amphibian Chytrid fungus had wiped out this species along with many other closely related species in Ecuador. This find is significant and very encouraging, offering an opportunity to protect this attractive and rare species".
Check web site in English. Lea más en Español.

01 May 2011

GIANT VARANUS, ANOTHER 2010 DISCOVERY FROM SOUTHEAST ASIA


A large (2 m long) lizard, cousin of the komodo dragon inhabiting an island in the Philippines, Varanus bitatawa, made a stunning discovery adding to the 2010 International Year of Biodiversity. It is a secretive, frugivorous, forest monitor lizard from a forest in northern Philippines. Data from DNA, and morphology, demonstrated its taxonomic distinctiveness and revealed its close relationship to Varanus olivaceus (from southern Luzon and nearby islands). The new species appears to be restricted to forests of the central and northern Sierra Madre mountain range. Its discovery identified a seldom-perceived biogeographic boundary and emphasized the need for continued biodiversity research in the megadiverse conservation hotspot of the Philippines. 

ANOTHER NEW SPECIES DISCOVERED DURING THE INTERNATIONAL YEAR OF BIODIVERSITY (2010) WAS VIETNAMESE, TOO


It is a lizard named Leiolepis ngovantrii, with populations made up of only female individuals (thus parthenogenetic, asexual), found in Binh Chau – Phuoc Buu Nature Reserve, Xuyen Moc district, BaRia-Vung Tau Province, Vietnam. It was long time unnoticed to science in spite of inhabiting a heavily populated area and being eaten in local restaurants. Its pattern of coloration provides camouflage in the coastal sandy places they inhabit, as well as under mangrove forests during the dry season.  

30 April 2011

The Vampire Tree Frog

The Vampire Tree Frog (Rhacophorus vampyrus) lives in the Bidoup-Nui Ba National Park, in Vietnam. Its common name was coined after the tadpoles, which have a pair of hooks on the lower lips which project away from the mouth. Scientists speculate that these fang-like projections may be used for hunting or to feed onto unfertilised eggs provided as extra food source to the larvae. The original description provides more info on this rare foam-nest species.

29 April 2011

RADIATED TORTOISE DRIVEN TO EXTINCTION


The Radiated Tortoise (Astrochelys radiata), one of the most culturally significant and iconic species in Madagascar, is being driven to extinction. Among the reasons are that this is becoming a more common source of food for local people and a highly prized commodity for poachers. Unsustainable harvesting, collection for the illegal pet trade, and habitat loss are among the major treats that threatens the survival of this species.  
Source:

THE ANTIGUAN RACER (Alsophis antiguae) IS BACK



Only 50 individuals of the Antiguan racer remained in the wild by 1995, when is was dubbed “the world’s rarest snake”. Through the efforts of Fauna & Flora International, this colubrid is back to Antigua and adjacent islands, counting to some 500 individuals at present.
Read the complete story.

A FLYING RESCUE MISSION FOR SIAMESE CROCODILES


15 Siamese crocodiles (Crocodylus siamensis) that were caught between construction hydro dams sites in the Stung Atay river, Cambodia, were rescued from places they were at risk. The river flows through Pursat and Koh Kong Provinces in Southwest Cambodia, and has two dams whose construction began in 2008. When the hydro electric Project completes, over 4000 hectares of rainforest will be flooded.
Read the complete story at the Fauna & Flora International site.

28 April 2011

NEW GENUS OF FROGS FROM SRI LANKA


A new genus (Taruga, Family Rhacophoridae) was proposed for foam-nesting tree frogs previously assigned to Polypedates and living in Sri Lanka.  All the species in the genus (T. eques, T. fastigo and T. longinasus) have restricted distributions mostly in the forested highlands of Sri Lanka.
Adults in the new genus are easily distinguished from adult Polypedates by having a very much acute head, possessing prominent cone-like projections around the cloacal opening, and a straighter supratympanic fold. Taruga tadpoles, among other diagnostic characters, have just an opening between legs and tail, without forming a tube, thus contrasting with Polypedates larvae, which have such tube.
The nameTaruga comes from Sanskrit, meaning "one who climbs trees", making allusion to the arboreal life habits in these frogs.
The original description can be downloaded from: Taruga, New Genus

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